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Bridge to Health Blog

Pain Management with Herbs

Written by Julia Milovanova   Posted in:Medical Herbalism   March 15, 2017

Pain Management with Herbs
Herbal medicines can help to manage pain of various origins. Natural pain killers can be effective but sometimes need to be approached with caution and should not be self-prescribed.

Let us look at examples of some plant medicines in treatment of several conditions:

Headaches

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil was found to be beneficial in tension headaches when rubbed into the head (Bromm et al., 1995, Gobel et al., 1995b)
Feverfew (Tanacetum perthenium) has been used in England as a remedy for toothache and headache since the 1700’s. There were even newspapers articles in the late 1970’s reporting that chewing small amounts of feverfew leaves helped to manage migraines. (M. Blumenthal, Rational Phytotherapy, 2004). A number of clinical double blind trials were conducted at the end of the 20th century that confirmed Feverfew as an effective remedy for migraine sufferers (Palevitch et.al., 1997). Caution: Do not attempt to use Feverfew plants that from the wild without consulting your herbal practitioner as they are toxic in high doses.

Musculoskeletal pain

Cayenne pepper’s (Capsicum spp.) active constituent capsaicinoids, especially capsaicin help to alleviate pain associated with rheumatic and arthritic complaints. The plant oil or extract is applied topically and induces an initial reaction of redness, pain and warmth. After this initial reaction, capsaicin desensitizes afferent nerve fibres for a limited period of time, so producing an analgesic effect.  Caution is required in using Cayenne pepper topically as, if applied in too high a dose, it can burn the skin. In some cases Cayenne pepper may cause an allergic reaction.
Turmeric (Curcuma spp). The medicinal properties of this humble spice are many. Turmeric lowers cholesterol, regulates blood sugar and aids digestion. Moreover, it is also an excellent anti-inflammatory indicated in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Curcuma spp. extract shared similar effect to Ibuprofen in reducing pain and swelling in patients with osteoarthritis (Kuptniratsaikul et.al., 2014).

Female reproductive system pain

Cramp bark (Viburnum opulus) contains salicylates (compounds naturally found in some foods and plants that inhibit prostaglandin synthesis and help to reduce pain and inflammation). This plant is often used as a uterine muscle relaxant in painful periods (dysmenorrhea), and has a general spasmolytic action. (Romm A., 2010).
Pasque flower  (Anemone pulsatilla) is a strong analgesic and sedative. This plant is prescribed by herbalists in severe painful gynaecological conditions including painful periods (dysmenorrhea) and ovarian pain.  (Romm A., 2010). This plant may be toxic if incorrectly prescribed, and is contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation.

These are just few examples of the vast medicine chest of the Mother Nature.

​If you would like to find out more about how herbal medicine could help you contact our qualified Medical Herbalist Julija Milovanova, MCPP today.


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